Tag: "Alpha Broadcasting"

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

| July 2, 2014

alphamedia logoAlpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting Become Alpha Media; Main Line Deal Closes. Portland-based L&L Broadcasting operates 43 stations in seven markets; the merged company’s corporate headquarters will continue to be in Portland, where Alpha Broadcasting owns six radio facilities.  In addition to this merger, L&L’s $57 million deal to purchase 19 Main Line Broadcasting stations has been finalized.  Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger of Portland’s Alpha operation into our newly created Alpha Media results in one company operating all markets.  Our ‘Live and Local’ vision continues to be our focus.  By adding the former Main Line markets, we can continue to develop ourmain line broadcasting footprint with attractive markets operated by great radio people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.” L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt remarks, “From the day we visited each Main Line market, we knew they were full wilsonlarryof talented radio broadcasters who understand our vision and how we operate.  We feel our live and local approach will enhance each market’s rating and revenue potential.  Having Portland in the fold allows us to liberally use some of the best brains in the radio business to help listeners, clients, and employees at our other markets throughout the country.”  According to Main Line Broadcasting chief executive officer Marc Guralnick, “It has been a great nine years at Main Line Broadcasting.  I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the industry.  I am excited to have our talented broadcasters now under the leadership of Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, and the Alpha-L&L team.  I wish L&L and this tremendous staff much continued success.”  The four markets for Philadelphia-based Main Line are Louisville, Dayton, Richmond, and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  The company was represented in the transaction by Media Venture Partners.

katztonyTony Katz Assumes Morning Drive Role at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Monday (6/30) was the first day on the job for new WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning show personality Tony Katz.  He replaces Steve Simpson who recently exited the station after 22 years.  Katz had been hosting the 9:00 pm to 12:00wibclogo midnight show at WIBC-FM from his home in Los Angeles but is moving to Indy for this new role.  Emmis market manager Charlie Morgan recently told the Indianapolis Business Journal the move to replace Simpson with Katz was the result of the station wanting a more opinionated, commentary-driven show than the newsy approach Simpson was comfortable with.  “He’s just not the right guy for what the role of host now requires.  What we’re asking our hosts to do is offer opinion and perspective, and [Simpson] was not comfortable with that.  He was more comfortable in a more traditional news role.”

gottliebdougCBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb Show Gets Cable Simulcast.  Beginning August 25, the Doug Gottlieb show will be seen on cable’s CBS Sports Network in addition to being heard on the CBS Sports Radio Network.  The program will be simulcast live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  CBS Sports SVP of programming Dan Weinberg says, “Adding the Doug Gottlieb show greatly strengthens our afternoon lineup adding three hours of live and relevant content each day.  Doug’s show is high-energy, insightful and entertaining and we are excited to extend the reach of his radio show to the CBS Sports Network television audience.”

kfbk logoKFBK Boosts Murray to News Director.  Assistant program director Mike Murray is elevated to news director at Clear Channel Sacramento talker KFBK.  Vice president of programming Ken Charles – who programs KFBK and sibling talker KSTE – comments, “In determining the needs of our department, and wanting to make sure there is one vision and voice between programming and news, Mike rose to the top as the right candidate for the role.”  In the next few weeks, there will reportedly be some news/programming restructuring associated with Murray’s promotion.

keiperjenniferKeiper Returns to WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Jennifer Keiper is back with news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after a six-year absence during which she worked as Midwest correspondent for Fox News Radio.  Keiper will anchor the news during afternoon drive, where Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are currently heard.  Keiper is taking over for Susan Carlson who resigned two months ago to join WMAQ-TV.  Read Feder’s column here.

mathenysamMatheny Named EVP/Chief Technology Officer for NAB.  Joining NAB from Capitol Broadcasting to serve as the new EVP and chief technology officer is Sam Matheny.  His work as part of the corporate staff involvement in several Capitol Broadcasting media ventures: general manager at News Over Wireless, which provided the first local television news applications for wireless carriers; manager of Digital Cinema at Microspace Communications, deploying digital cinema as a viable market for satellite delivery; and vice president & general manager at DTV Plus, which developed and launched the nation’s first DTV datacasting service.  Matheny is currently a member of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council and is a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB is thrilled to have Sam Matheny joining the team as our new CTO.  Sam’s roots are in broadcast localism and service to the community, but he is also a technology strategist determined to push broadcasters to embrace digital and Internet opportunities that generate revenue.  Today, tens of millions of our listeners and viewers are legally accessing broadcast programming on platforms and devices that are IP-based, portable and mobile. We believe Sam is the right choice to press these digital strategies forward and lead our industry’s technology future.”

joycebrianpanelWGOW, Chattanooga Host Brian Joyce Moderates Panel on Democracy and Human Rights in Geneva.  Tennessee talk radio personality Brian Joyce (pictured here, bottom, far right) was recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of the Geneva Press Club to moderate a panel discussion on democracy and human rights.  Among the members of this panel were Egyptian MP and Secretary General of Egypt’s Industry & Energy Committee Hatem Azzam (second from right, standing).  Joyce is going abroad this weekend to speak at a public rally in Istanbul, Turkey in Alfatih Square in Istanbul to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Egypt, which took place on July 3, 2013.  He was invited by a Turkish organization called Union of NGOs of the Islamic World, in cooperation with the Egyptian Solidarity Movement. Joyce says the Turkish government and Turkish people have been strong, vocal critics of military rule in Egypt, as well as of violations of democracy and human rights across the Muslim world.

pavlinahannityPavlina Interviews Sean Hannity on Talkers TV.  Sixteen-year-old talk media prodigy, Pavlina Osta, host of the syndicated radio show “Pavlina’s Kidz Place,” conducted an interview with Premiere Radio and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity at the recent Talkers New York 2014 convention. That 15 minute interview is currently playing on Talkers TV located at the top of the upper right hand column of boxes on every page on Talkers.com.  Pavlina has been broadcasting since she was 11 years old and has an amazing track record of conducting exclusive interviews with more than 300 stars from the fields of entertainment, sports, politics and media.  David Bernstein, GM of Talkers broadcasting operations says, “This young woman is going to be a huge media star.  She has everything going for her – even a local Gracie Award to her credit.  Watch out world, Pavlina is coming!”

marconiawardMeet This Year’s NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists. They are listed below and the list encompasses 21 categories.  The Marconi Radio Awards are given by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to honor excellence in broadcasting. “Legendary Station”:news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; talk KXLY-AM, Spokane; sports WFAN, New York; country WIL-FM, St. Louis; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”:Bob & Tom, Westwood One; Elvis Duran, Premiere Radio Networks; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks; Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Radio Networks; and Rickey Smiley, Radio One/REACH Media. “Major Market Personality of the Year”:Carter Alan of WZLX, Boston; Big Boy of KPWR, Los Angeles; Kevin & Bean of KROQ, Los Angeles; Preston & Steve of WMMR, Philadelphia; and (Fred) Toucher & Rich (Shertenlieb) of WBZ-FM, Boston. “Large Market Personality of the Year”:Bo Matthews of WIL-FM, St. Louis; Dr. Don (with Rachael and Grunwald) of WYCD, Detroit; Jim “JJ” Johnson of WOMC, Detroit; Larry Richert of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; and Ryan & Shannon of KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. “Medium Market Personality of the Year”:Brent Johnson of WTCB, Columbia, South Carolina; Cole Johnson of WNVZ, Norfolk; Kevin Miller of KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho; Chris Kelly & Chris Demm of WKRR, Greensboro; and Jeff Walker of WKRZ, Wilkes Barre-Scranton. “Small Market Personality of the Year”:Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry of KKNU-FM, Eugene, Oregon; David Gustafson of KJSK-AM, Columbus, Nebraska; Dottie Ray of KXIC-AM, Iowa City, Iowa; Brian Egan, Rusty Bumper & Amanda Walton of WKWS-FM, Charleston, West Virginia; and Brian Lee & Chris Wolfe of KZOQ-FM, Missoula, Montana. “Major Market Station of the Year”: country KKBQ, Houston; urban AC WBLS, New York; rock WMMR, Philadelphia; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; and country WUSN, Chicago. “Large Market Station of the Year”:adult contemporary KRWM, Seattle; CHR WBLI, Long Island; talk WCCO, Minneapolis; talk WTMJ, Milwaukee; and sports WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Medium Market Station of the Year”:rock KAZR-FM, Des Moines; hot AC KSTZ, Des Moines; country WIVK-FM, Knoxville; talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and country WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Small Market Station of the Year”:talkKFGO-AM, Fargo, South Dakota; CHR KNDE-FM, Bryan-College Station, Texas; full-service adult contemporary KYNT-AM, Yankton, South Dakota; country WFRE-FM, Frederick, Maryland; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”:KIFM, San Diego; WBEB, Philadelphia; WILV, Chicago; WMEE-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and WVAF, Charleston, West Virginia. “CHR Station of the Year”:KQKS, Denver; WBBM-FM, Chicago; WNVZ, Norfolk; WPOI, Tampa; and WVAQ, Morgantown, West Virginia. “Country Station of the Year”:KCYY, San Antonio; WIL-FM, St. Louis; WKLB, Boston; WLHK, Indianapolis; and WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “News-Talk Station of the Year”:KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTMY, Minneapolis; WGCV-AM, Columbia, South Carolina; and WLW, Cincinnati. “(Classic Hits-) Oldies Station of the Year:”WJMK, Chicago; WMJI, Cleveland; WSRZ, Sarasota; WXGL, Tampa; and WOGL Philadelphia. “(Contemporary Christian) Religious Station of the Year”:KKJM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KKLA, Los Angeles; KLTY, Dallas; KNOM, Nome, Alaska; and WMHK, Columbia, South Carolina. “Rock Station of the Year”:KROQ, Los Angeles; KSWD, Los Angeles; WBAB, Long Island; WDRV, Chicago; and WSUN, Tampa. “Spanish Station of the Year”:KLZT, Austin; WNUA, Chicago; WYUS-AM Milford, Delaware; WYUU, Tampa; and WXSH, Georgetown, Delaware. “Sports Station of the Year”:KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; KFXN-FM, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KPRS, Kansas City; WGCI-FM, Chicago; WHQT, Miami; WQHT, New York; and WVKL, Norfolk. “Noncommercial Station of the Year”: KPCW, Park City, Utah; KUNV, Las Vegas; WEAA, Baltimore; WRHU Long Island; and WSDP,  Canton, Michigan. Winners will be announced in two months (9/11) at the awards dinner in Indianapolis during this year’s NAB Radio Show.

kgy logoKGY Inc. Sells KGY-AM, Olympia to Catholic Broadcaster.  Sports talk KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington is being sold to Sacred Heart Radio for $250,000, according to The Olympian.  The station has been in the Kerry family since current KGY Inc. business manager Nick Kerry’s grandfather Tom Olsen purchased it in 1939.  KGY Inc. will continue to operate country outlet KYYO-FM “96.9 KAYO” and translator K237FR at 95.3 FM.

SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, Obama Executive Actions, Illegal Immigrant Influx-Amnesty Proposal, Global Warming Debate, Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Sarkozy Investigation, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The backlash over the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive case; John Boehner’s threat to sue President Obama over the executive actions issue; debate over amnesty as the Southwest deals with an influx of minor illegal immigrants; continuing disagreement over the issue of man-made climate change; high tensions in Israel following the deaths of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth; the corruption investigation of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 18, 2014

| April 18, 2014

main line broadcastingLarry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L to Merge; Company to Buy Main Line Broadcasting for $57 Million.  A big two-pronged announcement from Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting: First, the two companies will merge into one to be named Alpha Media.  Second, the company will purchase 19 stations in four markets from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million.  Here’s what the companies announce.  “The current corporate team for Alpha Broadcasting and L & L Broadcasting will remain and operate the company from the corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon.”  Alpha operates six stations in Portland while L&L operates 43 stations in sevenalpha logo markets.  L&L has been overseeing the operation of the Portland stations for the last year pursuant to a management agreement with Alpha.  Chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger will be the culmination of a long term plan to ultimately combine the two companies and will allow us to streamline our oversight of all 49 stations to take advantage of the many synergies.”  But wait, there will soon be more than 49 stations.  The announcement that L & L Broadcasting is entering into an agreement to acquire 19 radio stations from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million will expand L&L logothat to 68 stations.  Main Line Broadcasting is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and operates in the Louisville; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; Dayton; and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania markets.  L & L Broadcasting president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We’ve worked hard to maintain strong community involvement and an intimate connection with our listeners and advertisers in all of our markets.  I’m confident that we’ll be able to implement our mission of live and local radio in the Main Line markets.”  Main Line CEO Marc Guralnick adds, “I am extremely proud of all of Main Line Broadcasting’s employees who have done a phenomenal job over the years.  I am pleased to have these great broadcasters now under the leadership and vision of Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt.  There’s not a better company than L&L Broadcasting to ensure this continued success.”

rhodesrandiRandi Rhodes Calls it Quits.  Progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes, according to a press statement from syndicator Premiere Networks, “has decided to end her show” as of May 16.  The presser says, “We wish Randi well and thank her for her years of incredible creativity and unique voice.”  Rhodes – a native New Yorker – was a very successful, longtime local talk host at WJNO, in West Palm Beach who went into syndication with Air America during the early 2000s and moved over to Premiere after Air America’s demise.  Last November it was reported that Premiere would be dropping the Randi Rhodes show but two days later that was reversed.  There’s been no official statement about today’s news from Rhodes herself.

talksmerconishTalk Personality Michael Smerconish to Be Interviewed at Own Book Club Event.  Fans of talk host Michael Smerconish are aware of his regularly scheduled book club events that go back to his days hosting morning drive on WPHT, Philadelphia.  The setup was simple: Smerconish would invite an author he enjoyed to come to town and be interviewed by him in front of a live audience.  The author would then sign books and mingle with fans.  Now, the tables are turning as Smerconish prepares to release his first novel titled, Talk: A Novel (Cider Mill Press 2014), and he will be the one interviewed.  On Wednesday, May 7, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Smerconish will sit down with Larry Kane to be interviewed about his new book that deals with “the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics.”

ppmunitThird Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

sextonbuckOdds & Sods.  Sitting in for Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh today (4/18) is TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton.  The former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst says of sitting in for Limbaugh, “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed.  Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now.  I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”…..NFL dierdorfdanbroadcasting icon Dan Dierdorf switches to the college ranks after retiring from CBS.  He’ll become the color man in the radio booth for University of Michigan football alongside play-by-play man Jim Brandstatter (who makes the shift from his color analyst position after 34 years).  Both Dierdorf and Brandstatter played at Michigan during the 1969 and 1970 seasons…..Sports talk personality Jason Goff exits CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” where he’s been the evening host…..Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace is staying put at the cable news/talker as he’s inked a multi-year renewal that will keep him hosting “Fox News Sunday” and involved with the news operation’s political and elections coverage…..ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” program produces a special Earth Day edition titled, “Going Green,” and is available to affiliate stations today (4/18).  ABC says Iron Chef and host of ABC’s “The Chew” — Michael Symon — shares his gardening tips, the benefits of growing your own vegetables and the many ways you can turn your backyard space into a culinary destination. Experts will also be on hand to debunk common food labels and share their green grocery shopping tips.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KBIM, Roswell, New Mexico…..The Genesis Communications syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the lineup at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri and WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.

Russian Aggression in Ukraine Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 14-18.  The continuing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russian troops in Ukraine and reports of Jews being targeted with neo-Nazi tactics tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was income tax return day tied with talk of statistics indicating the number of Americans receiving benefits, and at #4 was speculation about candidates for president in 2016.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

| April 15, 2014

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh’s ‘Cure-A-Thon’ Raises $3 Million-plus for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Last Friday (4/11), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh held his annual “Cure-A-Thon” to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the show-long effort helped raise more than $3 million for the cause.  The annual event is executed in a relatively low-profile manner, that is, without a lot of promotion outside of Limbaugh’s program.  The large amount of money raised is indicative of the loyal and generous nature of his audience.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who listened to the entire program, comments, “Limbaugh did a masterful job of not simply asking for contributions, but educating his listeners about the diseases of blood cancer and the progress that is being made in finding the cure.  It was compelling radio.  Add to that his skill in weaving into the flow of the show other topics of the day from ObamaCare to his contrarian take on the selection of Colbert to replace Letterman and it was quite apparent that after all these years he is still an extraordinarily skilled talk broadcaster.”

bouloukosdonDon Bouloukos to Retire from CBS RADIO New York.  After 16 years with CBS RADIO and a career that spans 41 years, CBS RADIO New York senior vice president and market manager Don Bouloukos announces he’s retiring from the company effective June of this year.  Bouloukos first joined CBS RADIO in 1998 following the acquisition of American Radio Systems Inc. where he was co-chief operating officer.  Bouloukos comments, “It is never an easy decision to leave an industry you love, and a company and cluster of stations that have been such an important part of your life.  But after 41 years, it is time.”  Current CBS RADIO executive vice president, operations, Scott Herman will take over for Bouloukos and add supervision of the New York cluster to his duties.  The CBS RADIO New York group consists of all-news WCBS-AM, classic hits WCBS-FM, sports talker WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WINS-AM, CHR WNOW-FM and hot AC WWFS-FM.  Bouloukos continues, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that allows you to operate stations as if they were your own and I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish over the years.  Working with Dan Mason and Scott Herman has been an absolute pleasure.  My only regret is that I am not 21 years old and starting all over again.”

stouffervalKXL, Portland Names Val Stouffer News Anchor.  Radio news pro Val Stouffer joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland news/talker KXL “FM NEWS 101.”  The station reports that Stouffer will be part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program as co-anchor alongside news anchor Dan Mitchinson.  Stouffer’s news radio experience includes stops at the old WMAQ and WLS in her hometown of Chicago.  She’s also worked in Seattle at both KIRO and KOMO.  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Val is a win for KXL.  She brings significant news/talk knowledge and incomparable experience that will benefit not only our afternoon daypart but our entire station.”

nielsen logoFirst Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

quinnrixBringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer.  Ft. Worth, Texas-based multimedia storyteller, biographer and marketing strategist Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal, regardless of market size.  Learn more about this fascinating wordsmith and his ideas for adding new dimensions to local radio sales that straddle both the medium’s on-air and online space.  In a new article by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, Quinn says, “The service I provide is to help small businesses tell their story in features that run 250-300 words, which is fairly short, focusing on the unique experiences of the owner-manager of the business or the unique product or service that the business provides.”  He adds, “That can also include short-form generic features that ‘celebrate’ the tradition and community service of general local business categories such as stand-alone ice cream parlors, mom & pop hardware stores, garden supply centers, independent book stores, jewelry stores…the list is endless.  At the conclusion of each feature, the station tags it with individual examples of the category that are non-competitively located in different parts of the coverage area and makes them available to the advertisers at a very reasonable cost.”  To read McKay’s piece about Rix Quinn in its entirety, please click here.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Adds ABC Contributor to Her CV.  The announcement came on Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos that conservative media personality Laura Ingraham will join ABC News as a contributor.  She’s not giving anything up for the new role, either.  She’ll remain a Fox News Channel contributor and regular fill-in host for Bill O’Reilly as well.  She’ll also continue hosting her daily three-hour Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated radio talk show.

shannonbobThe Conclave’s Bob Shannon Steps Down After Health Scare.  The executive director of The Conclave resigned from the Minneapolis non-profit on Monday, April 14, citing health issues.  Bob Shannon says in a statement, “Upon my return from the NAB late Thursday evening, I experienced a medical episode that brought paramedics to my home in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, the problem wasn’t as life threatening as was originally thought, but it has prompted some soul searching on my part.  Therefore, after consulting with my physician and my family, I have decided to curtail all business activities for the foreseeable future and will be resigning all of my obligations over the next few weeks.  Sadly, that includes the Conclave.”  Conclave chairman Mark Bolke comments, “Obviously, Bob’s health and well-being is my primary concern, and I respect his decision.  As executive director of the Conclave, Bob brought with him the passion of a real radio broadcaster.  Not only in regards to what made it so compelling in the past, but a vision of what it still can be.  He is a champion of the medium, and never afraid to tell it like it is.  It’s been a pleasure serving with Bob, a true gentleman, and we wish him the very best.”

antinrobinPussycat Dolls Founder Robin Antin Joins PodcastOne.  The founder of the modern burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls – dancer, choreographer and actress Robin Antin – is producing a weekly podcast available on PodcastOne.  Fresh programs will be available on Tuesdays.  Her debut show today (4/15) will feature Kim Kardashian and Antin’s brother, famed hair stylist Jonathan Antin.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’m really looking forward to this podcast.  Not only will it attract a huge audience, but working with Robin will be big time fun.  Her millions of fans will have unprecedented access as they listen to her every week on PodcastOne.com.”

gastineaumikeOdds & Sods.  At Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talker KJR, the station is debuting a show for local soccer fans dubbed, “Seattle Soccer Talk Live” and hosted by longtime market sports personality Mike Gastineau, who returns to the station he left two years ago.  The weekly show will air live from local pubs on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 and will focus on the MLS Seattle Sounders FC.  Gastineau recently self-published a book about the Sounders franchise…..The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks picked up a few Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards from the NYSSCPA and New York Financial Writers Association.  Marketwatch.com Radio won honors for “Housing on Fire: Tips for Buyers and Sellers” by Alisa Parenti with producer Tracy Johnke; and the Wall Street Journal Radio Network was honored for The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal for his 16-day segment series addressing “the government shutdown’s impact on real people, the economy and business.”

cbsphillyCBS RADIO Philadelphia Prepares for 5th Annual Earthfest Celebration.  The Philadelphia cluster of CBS RADIO stations is partnering with the Clean Air Council to help sponsor its 5K Run for Clean Air at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday (4/19).  CBS Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield comments, “The CBS RADIO stations are proud to partner with the Clean Air Council in their mission to improve our region’s environmental and public health. As a huge voice in the region, we have a responsibility to use our power and reach to support such important issues.”  CBS RADIO Philadelphia participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, that gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor.  WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.

beckaplugeBecka Takes Plunge for Boy with Cancer.  KOIL, Omaha talk show host Tom Becka is pictured here standing in the 50-degree waters of Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, Iowa after jumping in on Monday, April 14 to raise money for a local boy with cancer.  Becka was part of a group of radio personalities and local politicians who took the “plunge,” including adult hits KOOO, Omaha’s Crash Davis and hot AC KQKQ, Omaha’s Jenny Olive.  The stunt was to benefit Landon Shaw, a Missouri boy with cancer who has inspired Facebook fundraising challenges.  On Friday before the plunge, the water was 60 degrees but a chill – along with some snow – moved through the area and the water was down to 50 degrees on Monday!

wjbcawardCelebrating ‘Station of the Year’ Honors.  Bloomington, Illinois news/talk WJBC was recently honored with the Illinois Associated Press Station of the Year Award.  Since 1999, the Cumulus Media-owned station has won the award three times.  It is given to one radio or television station in the state for its work with the Associated Press for continuing cooperation and contribution.  WJBC news director Stephanie Pawlowski says, “We are proud to continue in WJBC’s long tradition of community service.  The Associated Press has been a great resource for WJBC over the years and we are pleased to assist such an amazing organization in any way we can.”  WJBC has a seven-member news team, including an agribusiness reporter, and says that it produces more local coverage than any other station in Central Illinois.  Pictured here with the award are (from left to right): Bryan Bloodworth, sports writer; Adam Studzinski, news reporter/anchor; Pawlowski; Eric Stock, news reporter/anchor/sports director; Zac Dietmeier, news reporter/anchor; and Dan Westhoff, operations manager.

Boise and Denver Radio Personality Jon Duane Hellhake Dies.  On the radio he went by the name Jon Duane, both during his 10-year stint on the “Morning Zoo” at KPPL, Denver and as morning personality on KIDO, Boise.  Jon Hellhake passed away on Friday, April 11 after a two-year battle with cancer.  The Idaho Statesman reports the Boise native discovered radio in college and, after working in Denver, co-hosted the morning show at KIDO from 1998 through 2008 with Chris Kelly.

Kansas City Slayings, 2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Limbaugh-Colbert Flap, ObamaCare Criticism, Tax Day, and Blood Moon Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14).  The killing of three in Kansas City by neo-Nazi, former political “candidate”; speculation about possible 2016 presidential candidates; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the taunting of a U.S. destroyer by a Russian fighter jet; the criticism by Rush Limbaugh of CBS-TV’s choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; income tax returns become due on Tuesday; the first of four “blood moon” eclipses to take place over the next 18 months and some prophecies related to them were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 10, 2014

| February 10, 2014

francesamikeWFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1.  According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel.  The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week.  Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show.  Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.

compasslogoWall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks.  Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street.  Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.”  This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.

levinmarkMark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27.  Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned.  The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive.  The Tea Party is our only hope.  It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.”  Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show.  TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era.  Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day.  It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today.  I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.

mckayjeffTALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiereenvisionnetworks new Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four wolkoffdannodozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.

cbslocalmediaCBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month.  It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013.  The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago.  CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month.  CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends.  The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”

larsonlarsLars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner.  There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson.  Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson.  This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday.  Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.

smerconishmichaelMichael Smerconish Jumps to CNN.  The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple.  In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN.  At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.”  Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux.  Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings.  CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”

comptonawardHonoring Ann.  ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.

richertlarryOdds & Sods.  The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show.  Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program.  Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM,ryanpatrick Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist.  Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting.  He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6.  The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

| January 30, 2014

beasley logoBeasley Broadcasting Reports Q4 Revenue Down Slightly; 2013 Up 4.7%.  Political advertising – or the lack thereof in the fourth quarter of Beasley’s Q4 – led to a mildly down quarter as net revenue dropped a half of a percent compared to the same period in 2012.  Station operating income was down 5.2% quarter over quarter.  However, for the year, Beasley reports net revenue was up 4.7% and net income per diluted share was up 6.3%.  Further, the company states that “lower net revenue in the 2013 fourth quarter and a $0.4 million, or 2.5%, increase in station operating expenses related to operating KVGS-FM in Las Vegas which was acquired in September 2013, as well as a rise in sales and programming expenses, caused fourth quarter 2013 station operating income (SOI), a non-GAAPbeasleygeorge financial measure, to decrease by $0.6 million, or 5.2%, to $10.2 million, as compared to the 2012 fourth quarter.”  Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “Beasley Broadcast Group’s fourth quarter net revenue decline primarily reflects a reduction in political spending as in the fourth quarter of 2012 we recorded approximately $1.2 million in political advertising revenue.  While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment in our markets remains healthy and on an actual basis we reported just a slight decline in net revenue compared with last year.  Excluding the benefit of political advertising in the year-ago quarter, Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2013 fourth quarter same station net revenue rose approximately 2% and, reflecting our success throughout 2013, actual full year net revenue rose 4.7% while same station net revenue for 2013 was up 1.9% versus full year 2012.  Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 76% of total fourth quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 2.6%, which again was primarily attributable to the cyclical nature of political advertising, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 4.1% for the quarter.  Beasley Broadcast Group’s out-performance relative to our markets again highlights the benefit of our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism.  Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to fourth quarter 2013 SOI which was 5.2% below year-ago levels.”

sliwacurtisSliwa Child Support Case Creating ‘Tabloid’ Sensation in NYC.  The child support case currently in the courts in New York involving WABC, New York talk show host Curtis Sliwa has been fodder for the city’s tabloid newspapers.  Recently it was the New York Post.  Now it’s the New York Daily News.  The most recent court filings by Sliwa’s ex-wife Mary charge Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with now-Queens Borough president Melinda Katz prior to his marriage to Mary – and that he even spent the night before his wedding to Mary with Katz.  Sliwa was in court late last year contending he can’t afford the $13,000 per month he had agreed to pay Mary Sliwa for their now-10-year-old son because his salary had been slashed to $200,000 from its high of almost $700,000.  (That was when he worked for Salem, he now works for Cumulus and his current salary has not been published.)  Sliwa now lives with Katz and their two children and he pays $10,000 to Katz for child care even though they co-habitate.  Court documents allege that – via voice mails – Mary Sliwa can show Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with Katz for a long period of time although the two deny it started before 2011.  Mary Sliwa is also contesting the claim by Katz that her children were the product of frozen sperm donated by Sliwa.  Whereas this ordeal is no doubt causing financial and personal pain for the parties involved, the buzz factor generated by a scandal of this nature cannot help but draw priceless and timely publicity to Sliwa’s radio presence in the competitive New York market as he reunites with his former longtime co-host Ron Kuby on WABC.  Read the most recent New York Daily News story here.

haehlkentTV News Net Exec Joins Clear Channel Seattle as Market President.  The new market president at Clear Channel’s Seattle cluster is Kent Haehl.  The former Channel One Network chief executive officer will report to executive vice president of operations Hartley Atkins, who comments, “We are fortunate to bring someone onto our team who has such an expansive leadership and experience base.  Kent’s extensive knowledge of television, media, and the industry as a whole will immediately bring additional value to our advertisers and listeners as we continue to provide a greater reach than any other media outlet in Seattle.”  Haehl, who replaces Lisa Decker in the role, remarks that he is “extremely grateful” to begin working with “such a talented team of professionals.”  He adds, “I am looking forward to leading the market to continued success and to unlocking the full potential of our brands in one of America’s greatest cities.”  Prior to his tenure at Channel One, a daily global television news network, Haehl held senior sales and marketing positions at In-Store Broadcasting Network and Meredith Broadcasting Group.

bartleydavidBartley Joins WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Air personality and programmer David Bartley is named assistant program director and producer at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Bartley – who serves with the cluster as weekend and fill-in personality on the company’s sister AC WEBE – will produce the “Talk of the Town” program hosted by Jim Buchanan.  He will continue his role with WEBE.  In a statement, Bartley says, “I am very thankful to Danny Lyons and Ann McManus for giving me this awesome opportunity to help program ‘Fairfield County’s News and Information Leader’ WICC 600 AM, and I am also looking forward to working daily with Jim Buchanan.”

kxtg logoPortland’s KXTG to Air AFL Thunder Games.  As a result of a multi-year partnership agreement, Alpha Broadcasting, Portland’s sports-formatted KXTG “The Game” will be the flagship station for the Portland Thunder, the city’s Arena Football League team.  Senior vice president and market manager Milt McConnell notes, “We are excited to be a part of bringing the high-scoring Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder to our community.  This is an entertaining brand that extends Alpha’s ‘live and local’ focus.”  Portland Thunder owner Terry Emmert adds, “Sports fans in Oregon know that ‘The Game’ is the premiere sports radio station in the State.  We are thrilled to have partnered with the station and Alpha Broadcasting in airing the inaugural season of Portland Thunder Arena Football.  The AFL franchise will play 18 games, including nine at home at the Moda Center.  KXTG is also the flagship of the Oregon Ducks and Major League Soccer‘s Portland Timbers.

dukedrLong-Running Syndicated Health Show ‘Duke & The Doctor’ Ends.  One of the nation’s longest-running syndicated health talk shows is ending after tomorrow’s broadcast.  The “Duke & The Doctor” program – co-hosted by Dr. Jan McBarron (right) and her husband Duke Liberatore (left) – has been in national syndication for more than 15 years.  The couple is putting the wrap on the show at the same time they are selling their chain of six health food stores in North Georgia to Utah-based Nutraceutical.  Long-time readers of TALKERS magazine and industry pros who attended TALKERS’ New Media Seminar in New York City in the late 1990s and early 2000s are familiar with the colorful couple who were regular attendees at the event during those years.  With the show ending and the health food store chain being sold, Dr. McBarron is focusing on her medical practice and Liberatore will become more involved with the Columbus Lions Indoor Football team of which he and McBarron are part owners.

broomheadvetVeteran Recognized at SOTU Featured in KFYI, Phoenix Program.  When President Obama recognized US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg at the end of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, Americans were applauding a man who was also recognized as part of news/talk KFYI, Phoenix’s “My Military Hero” promotion.  Remsburg (pictured here at left with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead), was the August 2013 military hero of the month who was featured on a local billboard in the Phoenix metro and received a $500 Visa gift card courtesy of sponsor Rio Salado College.  As part of the program, Mike Broomhead (heard on KFYI weekdays 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm) meets with each hero (or their family) each month to personally thank them for their service and presents them with their winnings including a mini digital billboard.

wallacechrisRTDNF Names Wallace Host of First Amendment Awards.  This year’s host of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) First Amendment Awards is Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace.  The event will be held at Washington, DC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on March 12.  Honorees include CBS News Bill Plante (RTDNF “Lifetime Achievement Award”); NBC NewsLester Holt (Leonard Zeidenberg “First Amendment Award”); Gannett Broadcasting‘s David Lougee (“First Amendment Leadership Award”); ABC NewsRobin Sproul (“First Amendment Service Award”); and The Associated Press (“First Amendment Award”). RTDNF chair Vincent Dully states, “We are delighted to have Chris Wallace as our master of ceremonies.  We invite everyone to join us in Washington to honor our award recipients and support the Foundation’s work for the First Amendment.”  Wallace received the organization’s Paul White Award in 2013, the group’s highest honor for a lifetime of achievement and service.

gauthiergaryFormer Tampa-Area Talk Host Arrested on Racketeering and Fraud Charges.  Using the religious station as a backdrop for his program “It’s God’s Money,” Gary L. Gauthier convinced 38 people in the Tampa area to invest in his Ponzi scheme and, according to the St. Petersburg Tribune, bilked them out of about $6 million.  During 2005, Gauthier’s program aired on Salem Communications-owned stations WTBN and WGUL, though it’s not clear if Salem owned the stations at the time Gauthier’s program aired.  According to the charges, Gauthier worked with local accountant David George Dreslin on the ploy.  Dreslin has also been arrested and charged.  The paper’s report indicates that many of the victims said they trusted Gauthier because he was broadcasting on a Christian radio station.

delaneykateOdds & Sods.  The “weigh-in” for WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 22” takes place this afternoon at Chickie’s & Pete’s as Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes broadcast live from the restaurant in a prelude to the actual sold-out “Wing Bowl” that happens Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Center…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington adds popular Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates to its lineup as a contributor with a daily commentary called, “My Take.”  It’ll air at 5:35 and 8:35 each morning, Monday through Friday.  Yates says, “Radio is the original journalism media that I fell in love with as a kid.  The opportunity to work with a powerhouse station like WTOP is tremendous.”…..Multi-talented broadcaster Kate Delaney – host of the syndicated “America Tonight” show – sharpens her sports talk skills as she sits in for Newy Scruggs on the NBC Sports Radio Network’s midday show on Tuesday, February 4.

State of the Union Address, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation, U.S.-Afghan Relations, Snow Paralyzes South and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29).  Analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; criticism of House Speaker John Boehner and plans for immigration legislation that includes amnesty; the worsening of relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai; the winter weather that hit the South and the activity on the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

| October 29, 2013

cumulus logoCumulus Releases Q3 Financials: Net Revenue Up 2.1%.  Cumulus Media is scheduled to hold an investors conference call soon on the third quarter 2013 financial report it released this morning.  CEO Lew Dickey states, “This was another solid quarter for the company.  Our growth initiatives complimented our core business, which continued to take share, and we are seeing a continuation of these trends in the fourth quarter.”  In today’s report, Cumulus notes net revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2013dickeylew increased $5.7 million, or 2.1%, to $281.1 million, compared to $275.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012.  “This increase was primarily attributable to a $4.6 million increase in local spot advertising revenue, an increase of $2.1 million in national advertising revenue, an increase of $1.3 million in live event revenue, and an increase of $0.9 million in revenue due to the addition of stations in the Bloomington and Peoria markets which were acquired in July 2012, all of which was partially offset by a decrease of $2.9 million in cyclical political revenues.”  For the first three quarters of 2013 the company reports net revenue increased $11.2 million, or 1.4%, to $803.6 million compared to the same period a year ago.

kxl logoKXL, Portland Agrees to Billboard Change After Complaints.  Station officials for Alpha Broadcasting’s news/talk KXL, Portland say there was no disrespect intended when it put up a billboard in the Old Town/Chinatown section of the city that read: “We Love You Long Time. FM News 101 KXL.”  The line is a take-off on line from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” which is spoken by a Vietnamese prostitute.  It’s become a cultural meme and was used in the 2 Live Crew rap hit “Me So Horny.”  According to KION-TV, Alpha director of marketing Randi P’Pool said, “It’s a famous quote from an old rap song.  We thought it would get attention but in no way meant disrespect to anyone.  The new message will read ‘Stay Connected, my friends. FM News101.'”

wtoplogoFormer Washington Redskin Dexter Manley Banned from WTOP.  After appearing on Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington and making accusations about former Dallas Cowboys quarter back Troy Aikman and using a homosexual slur, former Redskin’s great Dexter Manley will no longer contribute to WTOP sports content.  During an analysis of the Washington Redskins-Denver Broncos game with hosts Mike Moss and Bruce Alan, who jokingly suggested that Aikman jinxed the Redskins by calling the game for Fox Sports, Manley stated, “I think Troy Aikman is a queer.”  Moss and Alan challenged Manley and he finally apologized.  WTOP vice president of programming Jim Farley later issued this statement: “This morning in a live interview former Redskins player Dexter Manley made an offensive and derogatory comment. He was immediately challenged by WTOP news anchors Mike Moss and Bruce Alan.  We were shocked and stunned and we apologize to our listeners that this happened on WTOP.  WTOP has contacted a representative for Manley and informed her that he will not be returning.”

scba logoSCBA Celebrates Ad Category Increases.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association reports that according to the September Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report just published, there has been outstanding growth in key ad categories as well as impressive new business development for LA radio.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We have a lot to cheer about based on this report.  Key category growth for September includes: Education, up 114.7%, Insurance up 66.0%, Healthcare up 16.9%, TV/Networks/Cable up 44.0%, Communications/Cellular/Public Utilities up 43.7%, Charitable/Religious up 29.9% and Concerts/Theater up 69.9%.  While September Auto growth was up by 5.9%, this was due mainly to a brief pause as dealer inventory for 2014 was being delivered slowly from a number of factories.  On a year-to-date basis, we have seen new categories increase as new brands discover the power of Southern California radio.  Education continues to grow by 56.9%, Appliances/Electronics up 53.4%, Transportation up 33.3%, and the emerging Retirement Community category is up 24.3% with Financial up 23.1%.”  Callahan says that in addition to all of the increases in existing ad categories, the good news is the emerging new categories as they underscore “a vibrant and re-discovering mode for many of our Southern California Radio advertisers.  However, the most important headline of all for Southern California radio is this: On a YTD basis, radio has earned the trust of 521 new advertisers, who combined, have spent $34,378,238 in new business with our members!”

keyz logoCherry Creek’s KEYZ, Williston, North Dakota Adds Talk Programming.  The station had been branded an agricultural news and classic country outlet but recently the station added a number of syndicated news/talk programs to its weekday lineup while keeping the classic country on weekend.  New shows include the regionally syndicated Joel Heitkamp program, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon programs, and Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM.”  The station has also re-branded itself “660 News Radio.”

wjob logoWJOB, Hammond, Indiana Partners with Purdue Calumet.  Vasquez Development-owned news/talk WJOB, Hammond, Indiana and Purdue University Calumet have entered into a partnership that will see the station move into the school’s Commercialization Center.  According to the Post-Tribune, the station will lease and renovate a 1,700 square foot space for its broadcasting and digital media center.  WJOB expects to begin working in the space in March with a mid-April broadcast operations start time.  The Post-Tribune reports that WJOB is co-owned by Alexis Vazquez Dedelow and her husband, Jim Dedelow.  Jim Dedelow, who manages WJOB day-to-day operations while also hosting the weekday morning drive program, “JED in the Region,” said the partnership with Purdue Calumet will help WJOB build on its reputation as one of the most high-tech radio stations in America.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio October PPM Data Released.  PPM data from 12 of the 48 markets in which Nielsen Audio’s PPM reports are used has been released.  Complete charts from Nielsen are available at TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo as well as the “Ten Takeaways” from West Coast bureau chief and managing editor Mike Kinosian.  To see the PPM data, click here.

NextMedia to Digity LLC Price: $90.5 Million.  That’s how much Dean Goodman-led Digity LLC is paying NextMedia for the 35 stations in eight markets it is acquiring.  However, two of the suburban Chicago stations – hot AC WZSR, Woodstock and classic rock WFXF, Dundee – are being spun off to Matrix Broadcasting for $5.52 million.

kathieleekrisjenner‘Kristening’ the New PodcastOne Studios.  Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Kathie Lee and Company” is the first podcast to be recorded at the new PodcastOne Los Angeles studios and Gifford was honored to have “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” matriarch Kris Jenner in to talk about family, faith and careers.  The episode will be available tomorrow at www.PodcastOne.com.  The weekly “Kathie Lee and Company” podcast launched last week with Regis Philbin as the first guest.  The company says that in addition to interviewing celebrity guests on her one-hour show, Gifford shares her thoughts on topics of the week and offers encouraging and inspirational anecdotes.  Above: Jenner (l) and Gifford (r).

NSA Spying Controversy, Court Rules Texas Abortion Regs Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Website Status, Superstorm Sandy Anniversary, and Lou Reed Passes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28).  The expansion of the NSA spying controversy to include European heads of state; a court ruling declaring parts of the new Texas abortion regulations unconstitutional; the status of the ObamaCare website and the repercussions of the Affordable Care Act; the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy; and the passing of rock icon Lou Reed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 7, 2013

| October 7, 2013

minertonyKIRO-FM, Seattle’s Tony Miner Gives Up Full-Time Position.  Longtime KIRO-FM, Seattle news anchor Tony Miner has ended his full-time afternoon news anchor position with the Bonneville news/talk outlet but will continue to do fill-in and other part-time work at the station.  In a piece on Bonneville-owned MyNorthwest.com, Miner says he’s not calling it semi-retirement, “I look upon it as a transition to more of a part-time thing here, filling in across the board, doing some commercial work, and just not doing the five day a week grind and coming down all the way from the Miner Ranch in the Skagit Valley every day.”  Miner had been commuting more than an hour each way from his home to the studios.  He was heard daily during the afternoon drive Ron & Don program.

gallowayrandyRandy Galloway to Exits ESPN 103.3 in Dallas as Cumulus Begins Operations.  Dallas sports media personality Randy Galloway’s “Galloway and Company” program will air for the final time on KESN, Dallas today (10/7) as Cumulus Media takes over the operations of the Disney/ESPN-owned station.  Galloway’s contract with ESPN runs out at the end of this year and the Dallas Star-Telegram reports that Galloway’s lawyer advised him that his ESPN contract is non-transferable so he gets paid for the rest of the year by leaving the program.  If he were to say on with Cumulus, ESPN would be off the hook.  Galloway – a Star-Telegram columnist – says he’s had discussions with ESPN about contributing on national issues but doesn’t say if anything has been agreed to.

islanderslogoIslanders Renew with Hofstra; Add Signal on Eastern Long Island.  The NHL’s New York Islanders renew their deal for Hofstra University’s non-com WRHU, Hempstead to serve as the flagship station for the team’s games this season.  In addition, Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting enters into an agreement with the club to air games on its rock WRCN, Riverhead, New York.  The addition of WRCN gives the Isles a radio presence in the central and eastern Long Island areas.  Hofstra dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Evan Cornog, tells Newsday, “WRHU is a college radio station that holds itself to the highest professional standards, so we are delighted to enter into a fourth year as the flagship radio station for a great professional sports franchise, the New York Islanders.”  JVC’s Matthew Goldapper adds, “JVC Broadcasting is incredibly proud to partner with Hofstra University and the New York Islanders to carry the games in Suffolk County.  Residents from Islip to Montauk will now have the ability to listen to all of the action on 103.9 FM.”

dumontbruceBruce DuMont to Seek New Executive Director for Museum of Broadcast Communications.  After founding the Chicago-located Museum of Broadcast Communications, Bruce DuMont says he will recommend to the board of directors that it consider hiring an executive director or general manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization.  According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the 69-year-old DuMont will continue to serve as president and CEO of the non-profit that he founded in 1983.  DuMont, who still hosts his weekly “Beyond the Beltway” political talk show from studios in the Chicago facility, says he intends to spend more time raising visibility and funds for the organization.  The museum on North State Street re-opened last year after being closed for almost 10 years due to state funding and other fiscal problems that impeded construction of the $27 million building.

bennettbillOdds & Sods.  United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells New York Magazine that his favorite talk show host is (former Secretary of Education) Bill Bennett.  In the piece, Scalia is asked about his media consumption and he says he gets most of his news while driving and cites Salem Radio Network’s Bennett as his favorite, “My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people.”  Bennett says of Scalia’s comments, “I couldn’t be happier to know that ‘Morning in America’ is a part of Justice Scalia’s morning routine.  Now, if we can just get four more of his colleagues to tune in before they put their robes on, maybe the country will be in better shape.”…..Sports talk personality Steve Hayward returns to Good Karma’s WAUK, Milwaukee hosting his daily 6:00 pm program after a year away from the mic due to health reasons.  WITI-TV, Milwaukee reports Hayward has been suffering from cardiomyopathy, diabetes and kidney failure…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks‘ “America Tonight” show this evening (10/7).

weei logoWEEI Red Sox Radio Network “Believes” in Castiglione for Two More Seasons. With their team just one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series in a miraculous turnaround campaign, Boston Red Sox fans are being made aware that play-by-play caller Joe Castiglione will be infusing his trademark “Can you believe it?” exclamation for at least two more years. The popular Castiglione has been a Red Sox fixture for 31 years. He will continue in his current role alongside Dave O’Brien through the 2015 season, in what Castiglione describes as, “the best job in New England.” Previous Red Sox play-by-play announcers have included such outstanding stalwarts as Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin, and Ken Coleman; however, Castiglione is the longest-tenured announcer in the team’s illustrious history. “From spring training, to opening day, to that famous final out in St. Louis in 2004, I have had the best seats in the house,” he remarks. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham adds, “Joe is more than a just broadcaster; he’s become as iconic as Fenway Park or the Green Monster. One of the reasons the Boston Red Sox are such a part of the fabric of New England is because of the work and the voice of Joe Castiglione.” Nominated earlier this week by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Ford C. Frick Award, Castiglione has broadcast some of the most memorable moments in Red Sox history. He called Carl Yastrzemski’s last game in 1983; Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game; Dave Roberts’ steal in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees; and the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships.

Former CBS Radio Broadcaster W. Ron Sailor, Sr. Passes. Bishop W. Ron Sailor, Sr., Pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church and former radio personality at CBS Radio’s talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103” passed away on October 6 at age 63.  Sailor originally worked for WAOK in 1971 and returned to the station in 2002 when it flipped to a news/talk format.  Sailor won accolades for his television works as well winning local EMMYs Outstanding Commentator in the Southeastern United States three-times.  He was the first African-American to serve as commentator for the evening news for a major southern television station on WSB-TV and also the first African-American to host an afternoon television program in Atlanta, when he hosted the “Backtalk” program on WXIA-TV.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

| June 12, 2013

smerconishspeechMichael Smerconish Delivers Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013.  It is considered an honor to be invited to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at the annual TALKERS conference – a traditional component of the Freedom of Speech Ceremony that dates back to the early 1990s when the late and legendary talk show host Gene Burns delivered an impromptu speech extolling the importance of free speech in American society and the vital role it plays in the pertinence of talk radio.  Bringing the concept full circle, Burns further articulated how talk radio plays a crucial role in exercising and preserving the First Amendment.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “That was a magic moment when Gene Burns explained how free speech and talk radio are intrinsically unified in preserving the very foundation of liberty upon which everything we consider to be ‘American’ is supported.”  Harrison recalls, “Gene reprised this role for the nextburnsgene couple of years leading up to it becoming an industry tradition carried on by free speech-aware orators.  We began inviting individuals from the broadcasting industry who understood and displayed from their own actions the importance of the First Amendment and comment on the state of its health – based upon the premise ‘use it or lose it.'”  Since then, a diverse roster of industry players, who have in their own way challenged the establishment, have delivered their versions of this important address including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Springer, Neal Boortz, Jim Bohannon and many more.  This year, the editorial board invited Michael Smerconish, who recently walked away from his daily on-air job with CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia and his own syndicated network of approximately 80 affiliates to take a position as host of a show on the SiriusXM political channel, to deliver the address.  According to Harrison, “Smerconish, a moderate conservative, was quite outspoken in his protest against the extreme left-versus-right polarity presently manifested in the stationality of most AM/FM news/talk stations and opted for the ideological freedom provided by his new satellite platform.  Standing up to the conventional wisdom and practices of one’s own industry can be even more challenging and bold a stance for a talk show host to take than protesting the government.  He was an apt choice to deliver the address this year and he did a great job.”  Smerconish began the speech by recounting a media experience he had while still a teenager.  Pink Floyd’s legendary “The Wall” LP was released when he was a senior in high school.  The band was reluctant to tour in support of the double-album, but as part of its record deal, Pink Floyd was obligated to do a certain number of dates.  “I was able to see them and was the envy of my friends,” commented Smerconish, who at the time, was the editor of The Chatterbox, his high school newspaper. “When I came home from the concert, I decided to write a review of ‘The Wall.’” Speculating what the “wall” was and what it symbolized, Smerconish recounted it could have been a prison wall or a wall around a person seeking isolation.  When his review came out, he was summoned to the principal’s office. “The principal said he was disappointed that I had written the review and requested a retraction, not because of anything in particular that I had written, but because I had addressed the subject at all,” Smerconish explained.  “He wanted me to do a follow up and be critical of the group’s music.”  The then 17-year-old Smerconish (who went on to become an attorney) was “only superficially familiar” with the First Amendment.  “I doubt that I could have defined ‘censorship’ or ‘prior restraint,’ but I knew enough that something he was asking of me just was not right,” he recollected.  “I weighed his request and I did not do it.  More than 30 years later, I spend all of my time talking about such dilemmas, speaking my mind, and rendering judgments about matters of public controversy – only now – I do so with profound appreciation for the source of our freedom.  Establishing a government framework for the weighty subjects of religion, speech, assembly, and petition is exactly what was accomplished in 1791 when the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights were adopted.”  Of added significance is the fact that, as Smerconish mentioned, it was done in just 45 words and in a manner that would be relevant for 222 years and counting.  “It is so simple and yet so prescient,” he commented. “This guidepost was written two centuries before the advent of the internet.”  The succinct way in which Smerconish assessed the state of the First Amendment was “resilient.”  To view a video of Michael Smerconish’s entire speech, please click here.

farbernmsinterviewErica Farber: “There’s Nothing We Can’t Do Anymore!”  Brimming with optimism, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) CEO/president Erica Farber tells TalkersTV, “For the first time in the history of radio, we are integrated marketers.”  In an interview conducted at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, Farber explains how radio can not only offer commercials on our broadcast signals but also video, special events and a variety of methods of exposure on our digital platforms as well.  Farber praises what she describes as “great energy” in the radio business and says that those of us who are in radio are here because “we love it” and although we are facing obvious challenges, there are also great opportunities.  When asked to define her role at the RAB as well as the organization’s role she states, “We are advocates of the industry to anyone who will listen – advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and consumer media.”  She strongly believes that far more people are listening to radio than detractors of the medium would have you believe.  To see a video of the entire interview with Erica Farber, please click here.

mhchineseradioTALKERS Magazine Building Bridge Between American and Chinese Radio.  At the same time President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, another diplomatic meeting between the two nations was taking place at United Nations headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side (6/7).  Broadcasters from China Radio International (CRI), the state-owned-and-operated radio station/network of the People’s Republic of China participated in the seventh annual “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” a cultural initiative presented by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service in association with the United Nations Foundation.  This was the first time a delegation of Chinese broadcasters participated in this event.  Pictured (above, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison being interviewed by the delegation for broadcast on CRI answering questions about how talk radio in America operates and what differences exist between the culture of broadcasting in both countries.  When asked what he hopes can be achieved by the meeting that was taking place that day between the presidents of the two nations Harrison stated, “I hope good things come from it, but I have learned through years of experience not to put too much stock in the words and actions of ANY politicians, regardless of what country they represent.  I believe, however, in the PEOPLE of different countries as evidenced by the ‘love fest’ taking place right here, right now, between your broadcasters and ours.  Radio is first andchineseradiogroupsm foremost a medium to unite people.  May today be just the beginning in our quest to unite the people of our great countries on the basis of mutual respect and common human interests.  If we do that, perhaps the politicians will have no choice other than to be reasonable.”  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most exciting conversations I have ever had in my 45 year career in broadcasting.  The radio folks from China seemed absolutely fascinated by how different the business is here – especially the American concept of free speech.  However they were clearly quite worldly and educated to many aspects of American business and culture. I will always remember this wonderful meeting.”  Li Ping, director general of CRI North America, told Harrison that she hopes “this will be the beginning of a long and productive relationship between Chinese and American radio broadcasters.”  Pictured above, right (l-r) Xu Leiying, reporter, CRI; Josephine Cheng, president, Chinese Radio Network (CRI’s partner in New York); Harrison; Li Ping, director general, CRI North America; Dong Xiaole, reporter, CRI; and You Yu, reporter/assistant to director general, CRI, North America.

villanuccijimLongtime Albuquerque Personality Jim Villanucci Lands in Portland.  After a not-so-amicable split from his 14-year home at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, talk show host Jim Villanucci will take over the late morning slot at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland “FM News 101” beginning June 24.  Villanucci will fill the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show.  Villanucci was a huge ratings-getter for KKOB over the course of his stay there in afternoon drive and now brings his broad talk host skills to the Pacific Northwest leading into market icon Lars Larson who hosts the early afternoon show.  The move reunites Villanucci with market manager Milt McConnell with whom he worked in Albuquerque.

podcastone logoYahoo! Sports Radio Podcasts to Be Featured on PodcastOne.  The Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Gow Broadcasting, operator of Yahoo! Sports Radio in partnership with Yahoo! Sports, announce a multi-year deal to make Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts available to listeners for free onyahoosportsradiologo PodcastOne.com and via the PodcastOne mobile app.  Additionally, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network podcasts will be represented for advertising sales by Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  PodcastOne/Launchpad Digital Media chief financial officer, Dan Yukelson states, “As ‘radio’ continues to be redefined as ‘audio,’ the sports-talk format has never been more popular.  Yahoo! Sports Radio is a leader in on-demand sports content and we are looking forward to ushering sports talk into the digital age together.  Along with our current PodcastOne lineup of sports/talk programming such as category leaders Steve Austin and Ross Tucker, the addition of Yahoo! Sports Radio will further strengthen our platform and reach.”  Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts now available on PodcastOne and represented exclusively by Launchpad Digital Media include Bryan Benway, Terry Ford, Dylan Gwinn, Rick Horrow, Travis Rogers, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Geoff Ketchum, Doug Farrar, Steve Czaban, “Calling All Sports with Marty Tirrell and Bob Ryan,” “The War Room with John Harris” and the “Mouthpiece Boxing Podcast.”

kgme logoClear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix Re-Brands as Fox Sports 910 Phoenix; Adds Local Midday Show.  Clear Channel’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KGME announces it has re-branded as “Fox Sports 910 Phoenix,” leaving behind the old “Xtra Sports” brand.  The station also adds a new live and local midday show called “The Freaks with Kenny & Crash,” featuring hosts Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm beginning today (6/12).  Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This programming change will create a better experience for sports talk radio listeners in Phoenix.  ‘Fox Sports Radio 910 Phoenix’ and the addition of ‘Kenny & Crash’ will provide listeners with phenomenal sports talk programming with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the best conversations in the Valley.”

cclogoKelly Kibler Is Promoted to SVP of Operations for CC’s Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio Markets.  Moving up from her most recent post as the company’s market president in Dallas, Kelly Kibler is named senior vice president of operations, effective immediately.  In her new role with the company, she’ll oversee the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets and will report to Tom Schurr, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s president of operations — major markets.  Kibler has been with CC for more than 16 years, holding a variety of leadership and sales positions in the Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas markets.  Schurr states, “Kelly’s strong performance and high level of achievement make her the perfect choice to oversee and lead our Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets.  Her track record is one of continuous success with the company.”

wachsmithdonAdLarge Promotes Don Wachsmith to Chief Revenue Officer, Radio Sales. AdLarge Media reports that EVP, radio sales Don Wachsmith is promoted to chief revenue officer, radio sales for the company.  AdLarge Media CEO and co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “Don has done an incredible job of exceeding revenue goals, two years in a row.  His client relationships and ability to develop targeted national radio advertising packages have dramatically increased sales results for AdLarge.”  AdLarge president and co-founder Cathy Csukas adds, “With Don’s leadership, Adlarge has already surpassed 2012 results and achieved exceptional growth in 2013.  This is a well-deserved promotion for Don and recognition for his contribution to our success.”  Wachsmith states, “The past two years at AdLarge have been a wonderfully rewarding experience.  As AdLarge continues to expand partnerships with content providers, I look forward to delivering targeted branding experiences for our national advertising clients.”  Wachsmith joined AdLarge in 2011.  Prior to that, Wachsmith was executive vice president, sales, at Dial Global Media.

GfK MRI logoArbitron Announces ‘Model-Ready’ PPM Data Available in GfK MRI’s Granularity Portal.  Arbitron Inc. reports that Model-Ready Radio data is now available in media and consumer research firm GfK MRI‘s Granularity Portal.  The company states that “the model-ready radio ratings data is linked with Media Monitors commercial airplay data to enable advertisers to get a better read on radio’s contribution to marketing and sales results.  Its presence in the Granularity portal is designed to boost radio’s presence in marketing mix models and make it easier, faster and less error prone to use for advertisers, agencies and modelers.”  The model-ready data is now available in Granularity to all subscribers of the new data set.  It had previously been available in a beta version for a limited number of trial users, which was announced in October 2011.  Arbitron also states, “A series of case studies demonstrated that the model-ready Arbitron PPM Radio Ratings Data can help improve the statistical reliability of marketing mix models and provide advertisers with a better understanding of radio’s ability to drive marketing ROI.  The data is based on PPM radio ratings which is linked to commercial occurrence data from Media Monitors for the specific date, quarter-hour, and station on which each commercial ran.”

sontagfrankKKLA, Los Angeles Names Frank Sontag PM Drive Host.  The untimely death of talk show host Frank Pastore after a motorcycle accident in November of 2012 left Salem Communications’ Christian talk station KKLA, Los Angeles seeking a new afternoon drive host.  Now, the company announces Frank Sontag takes over the program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.  Program director Chuck Tyler says, “We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our lineup in the critical afternoon drive position.  Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at KLOS-FM for 27 years.”  Sontag served as news director, disc jockey and was part of the popular Mark and Brian program.  During that time he also hosted his own talk radio show – “The Impact Program” – for 21 years.

abcnewsradioABC News Radio Recognized with Three Edward R. Murrow Awards.  The national Edward R. Murrow Awards have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and ABC News Radio is recognized with awards in three categories. ABC won Best Breaking News Coverage for its handling of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre; Best Continuing Coverage for its work reporting on Hurricane Sandy; and Best News Series for its The 2012 Campaign and Election: Your Choice Your Vote.”  You can hear the winning entries here.

beckslaterSiriusXMGlenn Beck Promotes New Novel on SiriusXM’s‘Author Confidential.’  Talk media superstar Glenn Beck (l) is the featured guest on this weekend’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Author Confidential” as he talks with SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Mike Slater (r) about his new novel The Eye of Moloch (Threshold Editions 2013).  The book is the follow-up to his previous New York Times bestseller The Overton Window and incorporates themes of tyranny, freedom, high-tech surveillance and more.  The program premieres on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 am on the Patriot Channel.

Gerard Media Purchases Talk WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.  Gerard Media owns news/talk WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana and will add 5,000-watt class D AM WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its portfolio for $175,000.  The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates.

wrkotownhallWRKO, Boston Holds Live Town Hall Broadcast with Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  WRKO, Boston morning drive host Jeff Kuhner will take part in a live broadcast town hall meeting at Bentley University on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  The station says Kuhner and Brown will discuss topical political issues, including National Security privacy issue, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi attack and the Senate special election.  The program will end with an open session for audience questions and will be moderated by June Knight.

Alleged State Department Cover-Up, Immigration Legislation, NSA Data Collection Program, Severe Weather ‘Derecho’ Threat, and Plan B Pill Policy Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  Allegations of a State Department cover-up of illegal activities including prostitution and drug abuse among staffers abroad; immigration legislation making its way through Congress; the NSA data collection program and the revealing of secrets by Edward Snowden; the threat of a dangerous weather system possibly forming a “derecho” that could affect the eastern half of the country; and the controversy over the Obama Administration’s policy on the Plan B pill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

| May 1, 2013

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout.  That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million.  New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster.  He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter.  From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter.  We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time.  You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. meyerjim Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.”  He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.”  Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish.  Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general.  And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles.  I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy.  This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  You can read the whole shebang here.

wheelertomTom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief.  On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected.  Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign.  Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses.  National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”

nms2013logoTalkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today.  At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET).  The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.”  The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.

walton&johnsonWalton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston.  Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC.  The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran.  Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC.  They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.”  Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009.  Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June.  Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF.  This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB.  Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions.  They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage.  They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”

wokv logoCox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal.  Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region.  WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power.  Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night.  The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties.  They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM.  Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work.  Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.”  The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller.  WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.

sabowalterFive Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video.  Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives.  In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV);  3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post.  To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.

wnox logoThe End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency.  With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX.  A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.

americaweekendlogoKTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’  The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings.  Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows.  Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs.  The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”

midwestcomm logoFargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L.  The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago.  Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.”  Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes.  Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.”  Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.

weei logoWEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role.  In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.”  The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN.  Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years.  Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM.  Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox.  Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion.  He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job.  Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none.  There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman.  The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago.  Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012.  CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago.  The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.

Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

| April 9, 2013

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s Panel at NAB Show Addresses Future of the AM Band.  To someone outside the business eavesdropping on the FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai-moderated panel at the NAB Show it would seem almost bizarre that in an era where every other word uttered in connection with media is “digital” that a long discussion about saving the AM band could take place, but that’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas on Monday.  As the AM-friendly Pai led the talk about AM’s future, there were several ideas put forth about how to keep the band alive – one of which included crafting legislation to flip the whole band digital.  This idea was supported by CBS Radio SVP of engineering Glynn Walden who suggested that very soon HD radios will surpass satellite radio receivers in numbers (presumably due to inclusion in new car information/entertainment systems).  Other suggestions included making it easier for broadcasters to use FM translators by changing the regulations to simplify their move to the same location as the original city of license.  Still, other observers noted that these suggestions all involve making the operation of an AM station more expensive – in some cases requiring tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In recent years, numerous broadcasters have told TALKERS that one of the beauties of buying an AM station is that, in relative terms, it’s more affordable than an FM operation and allows for easier entry into the business for minority and foreign-language operators.

cookeholland2013 NAB Show: “Metamorphosis: The Changing Face of Media & Entertainment.”  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports that “change” is certainly the name of the game in Las Vegas this week as radio broadcasters gather to talk about their medium and its integration into the fast-changing, bigger picture that is the world of information and entertainment.  Holland reports on numerous sessions he attended dealing with such issues as the changing face of sales as it applies to markets of all sizes; the technical limitations of the AM band; AM/FM radio’s future in the car dashboard; and the opening keynote by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith.  Read Holland’s column here.

nms2013logoAgenda Set for Talkers New York 2013.  The roster of industry luminaries signed up to serve as speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 has been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the talk radio industry.  Not yet named on the list are several more “surprise” speakers including the yet-to-be revealed recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award which will bring the total to around 50.  In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “In the 16-year colorful history of this national conference, I believe this is the best and most balanced lineup of speakers we’ve ever assembled.  This power-packed gathering of management, programming, sales and technical leaders will directly address today’s most important issues, as the radio industry – not just spoken-word – faces some of the most existential challenges of its century-long history.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Concierge Conference Center, 780 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side.   The event, which is on the verge of being an early sellout, is open exclusively to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked by credit card over the phone at 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-the-minute agenda and schedule, click here.

bokenyibernardBernard Bokenyi Named PD at Sport Talk KXTG, Portland.  Alpha Broadcasting’s sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game” announces Bernard Bokenyi is the station’s new program director.  Director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “Bernard brings a genuine passion and drive to sports radio that is invaluable to ‘750 The Game’ and Alpha Broadcasting.”  Bokenyi has served with Alpha Broadcasting for the past three years.  Prior to that he served as executive producer at Good Karma’s WKNR, Cleveland and spent a number of years based in Chicago with Sports News Radio.  On his new gig he says, “I am truly honored to be given this opportunity with such a great radio station and to be a part of a company that is committed to creating quality content.”

freemanedge“Free Talk Live” Adds Two Affiliates.  The independent, nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – co-hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – announces two new affiliate stations join the program.  First, replacing the soon-to-be-ending “Daily Wrap,” Georgia Eagle Broadcasting’s WRWR-AM, Warner Robins, Georgia adds FTL for the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Over in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hutton Broadcasting’s triple A KVSF-FM is flipping to talk and will add FTL for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight time slot.

federrobertChicago Media Journalist Robert Feder to Exit Time Out Chicago.  Longtime Chicago media writer Robert Feder – who’s wrote for the Sun-Times for decades and most recently has been a fixture at Time Out Chicago, announces that due to a change in the ownership structure of Time Out Chicago, he’s accepted a buyout of his deal and says he looks forward to continuing his coverage of Windy City media in another incarnation very soon.

waltonmcnabbThe Land of the Giants.  Prior to last night’s Dial Global broadcast of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game in Atlanta, NBC Sports Radio personality Donovan McNabb of the network’s “Under Center with McNabb and Malone” program interviewed basketball great Bill Walton who served as an analyst for Dial Global’s radio coverage of the game.

Margaret Thatcher Dies, Gun Legislation Issue, North Korea Threats, Immigration Reform, and News Reporter Faces Jail Time Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8).  The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; various gun legislation proposals; the threats against the U.S. and South Korea from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; immigration reform proposals; and the legal battle being fought by Fox News reporter Jana Winter to protect her sources in the case of Colorado shooter James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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